Wednesday, September 26, 2012

New treasures

This blog first began as a vehicle for sharing free online treasures for sermon preparation and Bible study. Although I haven't been blogging lately, I've definitely been treasure hunting and will be sharing some of the best finds in the days to come.

HTTrack Website Copier is a free program that lets you download mirrors of entire websites or portions thereof. So far I've downloaded the entire online archive for Biblica and Filologia Neotestamentaria. Each volume is fairly large (70MB or so). But it sure is good having them on my hard drive, especially way out here in Mud Creek, where the satellite connection goes out pretty much every time it rains.

Re-introducing your host

When I first began this weblog in 2005, I wanted it to be a place for encouraging growth in what C.S. Lewis called mere Christianity. As such, I have engaged writers and readers from a wide range of religious traditions. That certainly doesn’t mean I approve of everything these writers post. It does, however, mean I’ve found something worthwhile in the particular item to which I link.

On this blog seldom get into what might be called doctrinal distinctives. Lately, however, I’ve been getting emails that seem to be covertly trying to get me to reveal something or other about my own doctrine or Christian affiliation. Although I’ve not made a point of playing up such information on this weblog, I’ve never tried to hide the fact that I’m a preacher with the (a capella) Churches of Christ.

There are a couple of reasons I don’t make a big deal on this blog about my religious affiliation. First, I don’t like to debate doctrine, most especially online. In my experience going head-to-head on doctrinal disagreements usually only encourages the disputants on both sides to dig their heels in deeper. What’s more, online back-and-forth is not the purpose of this blog, and I don’t have enough hours in the day to do it. I am willing to discuss doctrine, even debate it if you insist, but if you want to have such a discussion, then please don’t try to do it either in the comments section or by email. You’re welcome, however, to come study with us at Fredonia Church of Christ near Manchester, Tennessee. We do a fair amount of discussion and debate there—in the best of ways, I think.

I strongly believe that reading, studying, and meditating on the Word of God helps a person develop a more clear mind for right doctrine, whatever his or her religious background. If your understanding of God’s will is askew, the solution (at least on this weblog) is not to argue about it. Instead, I post writings and links that I hope and pray will encourage you to think more deeply about God, faith, and discipleship. As someone once said, “Seek and you’ll find.”

Secondly, I don’t like to be pigeon-holed. When I first began blogging, a couple of guys from a seminary in Kentucky went on a little crusade against what they seemed to think was my doctrine of baptism. As best I can tell, they believed that I believed what one of their seminary professors told them members of Churches of Christ believe. I do believe what most Church of Christ preachers do on baptism, but I’m pretty sure these seminarians didn’t know what that doctrine actually is. We went around and around, and I don’t think they ever understood what I was trying to say. I certainly didn’t get what they were pushing.

Perhaps because we have no denominational structure or confessions in Churches of Christ, emphases and fine points of doctrine vary widely. There are “progressive” and “conservative” wings within the church, and I’ve pretty much given up on trying to please either extreme. I’m trying not to be of Paul or Apollos, but simply of God.

Thank you for visiting. I pray you find something here that helps you draw nearer to Jesus.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Internet back

Well, my web access was out for only a week. The rest of the time I simply haven't been writing. Right now I'm in the process of preparing a short essay re-introducing myself. We'll see how things go from there.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Internet out

Well, the very day I started back to blogging, the Internet went out at the house, and the folks at my service provider are taking their sweet time in responding. In the mean time I'm limited to Internet access on a library computer 15 miles from Mud Creek. In short, although I have grand plans I won't be doing much till I get back online at home.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Announcement and appeal

As of this month I’ve finished my one-year pastoral care residency in Chattanooga and its accompanying three-hours-per-day commute. That means, on the one hand, that I have time once again for blogging. On the other hand it means I’m once again out of a full-time job.

Before going into full-time congregational ministry I worked for thirteen years as a writer. The church I now serve pays me only part-time, and the members expect me to have another full-time job. One of the greatest benefits of working for the past year in a level-one trauma center is the gift of clarity: while I like being a chaplain, I love being a writer.

So here’s the appeal. I’m praying and looking to make my living once again as a writer, but I don’t know where to find good, paying work while living in Mud Creek, Tennessee. I know the work is out there, but the Internet is dizzyingly and frustratingly full of options—most of which, it seems, pay little or nothing. Years ago I came to understand that, although I had an active part to play in the process, it was our Lord who kept bringing work my way. And so I learned to stop flailing and start trusting.

Today I’ve begun to flail less and pray more. I’ve also begun to ask for help. I have professional experience in so very many kinds of writing—procedures and operating instructions, environmental assessment, adult-education workbooks, organizational history, grant writing, marketing, Bible-study curricula, devotional writing, human interest stories, editorials, news, and fiction. When people ask me what kind of writing I do, I say, “What kind of writing do you need?”

If you or anyone you know might need a writer, please know that I’m available.  For now you can reach me by email at miltonsenior AT gmail DOT com.

Back at it

Today I've gotten back to the weblog for the first time this year. I've finished answering emails and am now turning my attention to moderating comments (I don't even remember telling Blogger to begin moderating them, so I'm sorry that some comments have been unanswered for nearly a year). I look forward to being back with you soon. Thanks for visiting.